BRECKENRIDGE - Stage 3 of the USA Pro Challenge will be difficult to predict for even the biggest cycling fans. Can the climbers hold off the field or can the sprinters hang on?
Stage 3 of this year's USA Pro Challenge is wide open for the taking.
After leaving Breckenridge, Swan Mountain Road provides a great launch pad for breakaways as the riders weave north to Kremmling, but it's all just a prelude to the day's main showdown on Rabbit Ears Pass.
Climbing the challenging eastern slope will give the climbers a chance, but they will have to hold off the sprinters for 20 miles after cresting the top as they head downtown Steamboat Springs.
Can they do it? Or will there be a repeat of 2011's thrilling and monstrous field sprint?
Lachlan Morton of Australia, who lives in Boulder, is in the overall lead after finishing second in Tuesday's race from Aspen to Breckenridge. Defending race winner Christian Van de Velde, a teammate of Morton's, finished 19th and is 20th overall, trailing by 46 seconds. Reigning Tour de France champion Christopher Froome finished 76th and is also 76th overall - over 16 minutes back.
Stage 3 started at 12:10 p.m. on Wednesday. Riders should be done around 5 p.m.
See the full Stage 3 route here: http://bit.ly/1d1gUHC.
Mathias Fränk won Stage 2 on Tuesday, and Peter Sagan of Team Cannondale won Stage 1 of the USA Pro Challenge in Aspen on Monday.
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